Who immediately comes to mind when you read, “Obie took twenty-seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used as evidence against us.”
Yep, the very same guy who wrote and sang the ever-popular classic, “I don’t want a pickle—just want to ride my motorcycle….”
But radio stations of the early 70s rarely played those two tunes. Instead, they chose to air “The City of New Orleans,” which is a fine song, and much, much, shorter without the rambling stories inserted. Rambling stories, which became the trademark of none other than Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo.
And now Arlo Guthrie is joined by his own son Abe (on keyboards and vocals) on a nation-wide tour known as “Here Comes the Kids.” The tour continues to focus on the Woody Guthrie Centennial, but promises to contain more of Arlo’s own material.
Rick and I will be in attendance during Arlo’s Portland stop tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to a brisk walk down Nostalgia Lane, and expect I’ll be singing along with more than a few of the tunes. (Woody wrote the historically correct 7-verse “Roll On, Columbia,” which I attempted to teach to hundreds of elementary students, as well as “This Land is Your Land,” his most popular and enduring song.)
And I’m hoping that sometime during the show, we’ll be treated to a modified version of “Alice’s Restaurant.” Cause it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
Back in the day, baby girls were always wrapped in pink, and baby boys in blue. I’ve never been a pink kind of gal myself, always leaning toward the cooler side of the color wheel, towards the greens and blues and purples.
I wonder if that’s because I was wrapped in a baby blue blanket at birth. (And how come there’s a “baby blue” and not a “baby pink” anyway?)
Being a Gemini, the sign of the twins, I’ve always figured that meant I could have at least two “favorite colors,” so I picked purple and green, since blue seemed to be unalterably reserved for boys.
Famed (and local!) watercolor artist Charles Mulvey reinforced the gender bias of color when he came to do a demonstration for the sixth graders. As he painted the familiar “couple walking on the beach” scene, he told us how the taller one always wore a blue jacket and the shorter one wore red.
“What would happen if you switched the colors?” I asked.
Charles laughed. “I tried that,” he replied. “The painting didn’t sell.”
I found that observation very interesting, but also rather disturbing. Is our color comfort zone automatically restricted by societal conditioning?
With this question in mind, I did a little investigative research. Undeniably, the color favorites of men and women seem to follow the pattern. The majority of females I queried leaned toward the warmer size of the wheel, predominantly red, while the men strongly favored blue, and the colors closest to it.
Which then led me to consider that perhaps I have a higher testosterone level than most women—or maybe it explains why I have so many more men than women friends. (YEs, it’s weird stuff like this that keeps me awake at night!)
“I like them all,” he said. “I never met color I didn’t like.” And when pressed to choose just one, he stubbornly refused. “It’s either rainbow—or darkness.”
I am most grateful for friends like that—friends who push me to think outside the box. Or better yet, those who tell me there is no box, and that I should immediately stop putting limitations on my thinking.
So now I ask you—what’s YOUR favorite color—and why?
“Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy…” “I’m looking over, a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before…” “I’ve been working on the railroad, all the live-long day…” “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”
I know it frustrated Mom no end that none of us ever learned to harmonize. Grandpa called Mom and my two aunts his “Andrew Sisters,” and they all learned to play the piano and sing hymns and other tunes together in the parlor.
Conversely, I never learned to play the piano . As a young teen I learned songs from the older kids on the berry bus, headed for the fields to pick strawberries and raspberries.
“Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now…” “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt…” “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms…” “There was a farmer, had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o… B-I-N-G-O…”
Today, as it turns out, is the 99th day of 2014, which prompted this entire post… So feel free to sing along: “Ninety-nine bottle of beer on the wall…”
I wonder if anyone ever got all the way down to just one bottle of beer on the wall? Sure couldn’t prove it by me!
Call it what you will, but all of us have had those undeniable “coincidences” (things that can’t ignored or explained) that made our neck hair stand on end and take notice.
Now I’ve driven the Sunset Highway hundreds of times during my 36-plus years living on the peninsula. For several months last year I went “over the hill” at least twice a week. But in all that time, I’d never stopped at the Elderberry Inn. Just never wanted to slow my trip down long enough for a meal or a cup of coffee.
One recent morning I made an exception. Maybe I was dragging my feet and looking for a distraction, or maybe I was just plain hungry, but some little voice inside me suddenly said, “Stop here.” So I did.
The waitress told me to take a seat anywhere, so I moved away from the local good-old-boys club yukking it up, and sat around the corner from them, in a booth along the windows looking out towards the highway.
When she brought me a menu, I waved it away and simply ordered two slices of French toast and two strips of bacon. That breakfast was one of Mom’s favorite two “go-to” meals when we ate out. I smiled to myself when I realized that, sipped my coffee and gazed out the window while I waited for my order.
It had been raining the entire drive, and I’d been lost deep inside my head, thinking a lot about Mom and missing her something fierce.
Now a motion just out of my line of direct sight caught my eye and I looked upward. There was a hummingbird feeder hanging there, and a tiny little guy was sitting on the perch having a drink. My smile broadened. Mom loved hummingbirds, and I had even gotten a hummingbird tattoo in her memory.
My breakfast came, and I savored every bite as the hummingbird came and went several times. It kind of felt like we were having breakfast together. When I finished eating, I headed for the restroom, perusing the artwork for sale hanging along the walls. It crossed my mind that there might be a painting or photograph of a hummingbird that I might need to add to my growing collection at home, but I saw none.
I laughed, paid the bill, and headed for my car. Walking across the parking lot, I said aloud, “Ok, Mom, I get it. You’re still with me. You could have just left a penny by the car you know.”
I used the key clicker to unlock the door as I approached, and when the parking lights blinked on, I noticed a coin lying by the driver’s door. Not a penny from heaven, but a dime! Finding a dime means someone in heaven is keeping an eye on you.
At least, that’s what Mom used to say. And today, I have no doubt it’s true.
“Forget all your glib responses this morning.” She glowered at me. “And tell me exactly how a person is supposed to do something like that?”
I smiled. It was a teachable moment. I happen to love teachable moments.
“Do you keep a gratitude list?”
“Once in a while.” She shrugged. “But I want something right this very minute that will turn my crappy day around. Can you do that?”
“Tell me about your best vacation ever.”
“My best vacation? Seriously?” She shook her head. “I asked you for a concrete way to start my day over and you ask about my best vacation?”
She sighed. “Well, I suppose it was the time I went to Hawaii… Or Cabo… Oh, but wait a minute, there was that time the whole extended family went to Disneyland…” She smiled as she reflected. “But there was one time in Seattle, when just my husband and I took a weekend away and walked down along the waterfront and a guy was carving a totem pole and…”
My friend abruptly stopped talking. “I really can’t decide; there are so many!”
“Exactly.” I nodded. “And you could try to tell me about your best-ever birthday present, or best-ever dessert, or fishing trip, or romantic date. But in the end, you’d be so overcome by all your blessings that you couldn’t help but be in a better mood.”
I’m not an expert on how the mind works. I can’t even tell you the difference between endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. I only know that the memory of positive experiences triggers the right neurological synapses and you instantly feel better.
And when you try to choose THE BEST EVER, one memory will lead to another and another and another and you’ll be amazed and overwhelmed by the impulse to jump up and happy dance! Those little brain chemicals will rush right in and lift you up and carry you through the rough patches.
No drugs required.